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A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
rather than of puny mortals. They towered up like precipices above my head. The Egyptian taste for exaggerated size sometimes rose to stunning dimensions, as in the case of the Great Pyramid near Cairo and the pylon walls under whose shadow I stood. They were almost fifty feet thick, thicker than any fortress walls need be. Well, indeed, was the profane outer world kept from polluting the sacred precincts of this temple, which the ancients proudly called "the throne of the wond." Alasl it was now but a broken throne, and when I emerged in the large forecourt, there I found a wide mass of mutilated masonry relieved from its desolation by some unfallen pillars. I walked slowly across this quadrangle, treading on rough earth and growing weeds, where once had been a beautiful mosaic pavement that extended for hundreds of feet in length.
This space traversed, I arrived at a high doorway, covered with coloured half-reliefs and standing between the shattered remnants of another pylon, which was now but a tumbled mass of hot fallen stones and quite bereft of its former outline. Yet that doorway must once have risen a hundred feet above the ground. Gone were the seven steps which the builders had placed before the entrance, seven symbolical graduations of man's progress from the lower world of everyday existence to the highest sphere of spiritual attainment. For the Egyptians —as many of the ancients—understood well the mysterious numbering which underlies the whole constructed universe; they knew that the seventh day or grade brought Rest, the highest peace for man, no less than for other created beings and things, I had found this sevenfold numbering in all their temples throughout the land, while it had appeared in clear and startling expression within the Grand Gallery of the Great Pyramid, Therefore they had fittingly placed those steps, which time and man have all but torn from the ground, at die very entrance to the vestibule of Karnak's grandest and most impressive feature, the Great Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Amen-Ra.
I entered, and a bewildering perspective of sixteen serried ranks of columns opened out before me. The sun's rays fell upon a scene without parallel in my memory. Nearly every one of the hundred and thirty upright pillars thrust a strong, horizontal shadow across the unpaved ground. The white stone shafts stood up like an army of giant soldiers. Their